Boston and London join forces for launch of new £10m startup accelerator

The MassChallenge UK program will help hundreds of entrepreneurs and innovators to convert their high-potential ideas into high-impact businesses.

The Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, was invited to London to ‘gift’ the MassChallenge US model to the UK, at a House of Lords reception hosted by social entrepreneur Lord Wei. The reception was also attended by Government representatives including Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock and UK innovation leaders such as Joanna Shields OBE and Gerard Grech.

MassChallenge UK is based on the hugely successful MassChallenge model, which launched in Boston in 2010. It is already the world’s largest business accelerator, with the UK programme – backed by Downing Street and a number of global blue-chips – set to attract hundreds of talented entrepreneurs from across the nation.

On Tuesday, Governor Patrick met with Mayor of London Boris Johnson to discuss the launch of MassChallenge UK as well as mutual trade and economic opportunities between Boston and London.

“Like Massachusetts, the UK is a thriving hub of innovation and entrepreneurialism,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “MassChallenge is helping businesses to grow and creating a generation of innovation leaders with ideas to change the world and improve people’s lives.”

The four-month MassChallenge programme annually supports over one hundred high-impact, early stage start-ups with no strings attached. Its £10m support package for the best entrepreneurs includes expert mentoring and business training, free office space, access to funding and the opportunity to win hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash awards. MassChallenge does not take any equity in exchange for funding or support.

Innovation and social mobility champions backing MassChallenge UK include Lord Verjee, Lord Nat Wei and Gerard Grech.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “My main priority as Mayor has been creating jobs and growth for Londoners, and I am pleased to welcome MassChallenge to London. It is our job in the public sector to provide the framework – from safe streets to sensible taxes to good education to excellent transport – in which entrepreneurs and wealth creators can flourish. We need to be ambitious with programmes like this to foster new ideas, create sustainable businesses and provide new jobs and apprenticeships.”

MassChallenge UK managing director Chris Howard said: “If the UK is to continue its economic recovery, then it is vital we nurture a new generation of startups and ambitious entrepreneurs, who can develop sustainable long term businesses.